Rattlesnakes. They strike fear in the hearts of many, and are a animal many have nightmares about.
From the intimidating rattle sound they create to the deadly venom they possess, it’s no surprise why people are scared of them. That said, we find them incredibly fascinating. Although they can be scary, there are many beautiful species of Rattlesnakes that boast different colors, sizes, attributes, and patterns.
In fact, we are quite fond of Rattlesnakes. Which is exactly why we decided to gather our favorites species together for your reading pleasure.
Rattlesnake pictures, Rattlesnake facts… are you ready to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of these rattling predators?
We’ll cover 18 different species of Rattlesnakes in this post. With each snake, you’ll get an idea of what they look like, where they live, and different facts about each Rattlesnake.
Of course, the pictures of Rattlesnakes are the funnest part. But, be sure to read up on what each Rattlesnake is all about, too. You may just end up becoming fond of these rattling serpents by the end of this write-up.
Would that be the worst thing in the world? Probably not.
In any case, We know why you’re here. To learn about Rattlesnakes, browse beautiful Rattlesnake pictures, and learn about these American-dwelling venomous serpents.
Are Rattlesnakes Poisonous?
Nope. Rattlesnakes are not poisonous. In fact, neither are any other species of snakes. Technically, Rattlesnakes are venomous, as are many other types of dangerous snakes. There’s a big different between being venomous and poisonous. Essentially, venomous animals are those who inject their deadly serum via fangs, stingers. etc. Poisonous animals emit poison as a self defense mechanism. So, Rattlesnakes are venomous, not poisonous.
How Many Different Species of Rattlesnakes are there?
There are approximately 44 known species of Rattlesnakes, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). Additionally, there are about 46 different subspecies of rattlesnakes. Subspecies tend to be very similar variations of one species, but have slight differences due to environment and habitat.
Where are Rattlesnakes Located?
Rattlesnakes are a species exclusive to the Americas. To be specific, they predominately inhabit North and Central America. That said, ther are a few species that can be found in South American and Canada. The area most populous with Rattlesnakes happens to be Arizona, USA. There are about 14 known species of Rattlesnakes that inhabit the US State. That makes Arizona the location with the most variety of Rattlesnakes on the planet.
How Big Do They Get?
That depends. Many of the species vary in maximum length. Usually, any given Rattlesnake species will be somewhere between 1 foot long and 8 feet long. Some of the smaller “Pygmy” species are much shorter. On the other hand, the largest and arguably most infamous species is the Eastern Diamondback. We have both species listed below, and you will learn about specific facts later on.
These venomous serpents eat a variety of different live prey, and it mainly depends on what’s in each respective species’ environment. More often than not, Rattlesnakes like to eat other reptiles, mammals, birds, and sometimes fish. For example, here are some typical meals that a rattler may enjoy: mice, small squirrels, finches, lizards, moles, etc. As for how much they eat, the Oklahoma State Wildlife Department claims that Rattlesnakes eat around 21 rodents per year.
Unlike constricting snakes like White Lipped Pythons, Rattlers inject venom to neutralize their prey. Once injected, the prey doesn’t last very long; the venom typically kicks in immediately and takes effect within seconds. Shortly after, the Rattlesnake will indulge. Again, the type of prey depends on the geography in which then snake is located.
The vast majority of the species of this type of snake are desert dwelling, because many of the species take homage to more desert-like habitats. That said, some species inhabit mountainous areas, forests, and grasslands. In general, these snakes are solitary creatures and don’t spend a lot of time with ‘friends’.
Owning Them as Pets (hint: not the best idea)
There are so many better pets to have than a Rattlesnake. Frankly, it’s not worth the risk for anyone to own one of these suckers. These snakes are incredibly dangerous and a bite can lead to certain death, especially of you’re not near a hospital.
With that in mind, some folks still like the idea of owning one of these venomous reptiles as a pet. While not a great idea, if you are going to own one, you should 1. be an absolute expert in handling extremely dangerous reptiles, and 2. understand the legality behind owning a venomous reptile.
Depending on where you live, certain species of snake could be illegal to own in accordance to the Lacey Act. If for some reason you’re going to commit to owning a Rattlesnake, be sure to follow the rules of your state and the Lacey Act (that is, if you live in the US).
Please consider owning other, easier snakes to manage and take care of.
When it comes to family, Rattlesnakes actually belong to the viper category. They share the same family as other venomous snakes like Adders, True Vipers, African Bush Vipers, Cottonmouths, Fer-De-Lances, and Copperheads.
Just because these snakes are all in the same family, doesn’t mean they all rattle their tails. In fact, non of the other species of snakes have advanced warning systems like the rattlesnake species.
In any case, here is the entire taxonomy breakdown of Rattlesnakes (except Pygmy, they are a different family) on this list, per the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS):
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Subkingdom: Bilateria
- Infrakingdom: Deuterostomia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
- Superclass: Tetrapoda
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Suborder: Serpentes
- Infraorder: Alethinophidia
- Family: Viperidae
- Subfamily: Crotalinae
- Genus: Crotalus
Rattlesnake Pictures + Facts: 18 Different Species
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus adamanteus
- Native Location: Southeastern US, including: North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana
- Size: Per the Smithsonian National Zoo, Eastern Diamondback adults can grow up to 8 feet long, with the average being around 3-6 feet long.
- Diet: Usually rabbits and mice
- Lifespan: Up to 20 years
The Eastern Diamond Rattlesnake is likely the most well known of all the Rattlesnake species. The reason is because of it’s ghastly size, and it’s potent venom. In fact, it is one of the most feared snakes for two reasons: 1. The mortality rate after being bitten by an Eastern Diamondback is is between 20%-30%, and 2. The venom causes severe and excruciating pain.
Just look, the above pictured Eastern Diamondback looks as if he’s staring into your soul. The name of the snake comes from it’s notable black diamond pattern that stretches down the spine of it’s back. Also, it has a forest like brown color that really helps with camouflage.
On the bright side of things, Diamondback Rattlesnakes aren’t known to be aggressive. Unfortunately, they are really good at blending in, so as is with most snake bites, Diamondbacks usually strike as a self defense mechanism. After all, Diamondbacks are terrestrial, so they are most often found on the forest floor, tucked under a dead log, or in some kind of natural “snake hide”. As for habitat, they are usually found in swamps, marshes, wooded areas, and holes dug by other mammals.
Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Sistrurus miliarius
- Native Location: East Texas, Florida, North and South Carolina, Georgia; Generally, the Southeastern region of the United States, and stretching a bit into coastland areas bordering the Gulf of Mexico.
- Size: 12-24 inches (40-60 cm)
- Diet: Small mammals and birds; frogs, lizards and other reptiles and amphibians; sometimes, they eat other snakes.
- Habitat: Often found near water, e.g. lakes, floodplains, streams/rivers. Also regularly inhabit wooded areas with fallen trees and plenty of cover.
Pygmy Rattlesnakes have three different subspecies, and the one pictured above is the “Dusky” or S. m. barbouri. The other subspecies’ common names are “Western” and “Carolina” Pygmy Rattlesnakes.
Actually, this species of snake differs from all other rattlesnakes because Pygmy’s have a different subfamily called Crotalinae, which include species that do not have rattling tails such as Cottonmouths and Copperheads.
Of all Rattlesnake species, these guys are the smallest, measuring in at a max of 24 inches or 60cm long. Generally, they are harmless to humans as they do not generate enough venom for a fatal strike. That said, if bitten, a victim will likely have an undesirable couple of days afterwards.
The venom, however, is enough to inhibit small woodland creatures. These cute little guys are pursuers, and will chase down their hunt and inject venom until their prey is debilitated
These little buggers are pretty cute, too. I mean, how could anyone resist these tiny little serpents? The one pictured above seems to be shedding, you can tell by looking at his blue eyes. Rattlers are known to blend in with their surroundings, and Pygmys definitely do. Just look at the dark black spots and gray pattern. Likely, the only time you will see these snakes is crossing a road or sitting out on a rock during the day time. After all, they are known to love sunbathing.
Mexican West Coast Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus basiliscus
- Native Location: Western coast of Mexico
- Size: 5 to 6.5 feet long (152 – 198 cm)
- Diet: Mostly rodents and small mammals. Sometimes lizards or birds when available.
- Habitat: Dry, thorny areas. The location these snake inhabit are known for their arid, dry grassy, hot and humid conditions.
The Crotalus basiliscus is a Rattlesnake known only to be found in Mexico. Additionally, it’s one of, if not the largest desert-dwelling Rattlesnake. At a whopping max length of around 6.5 feet long, Mexican West Coast Rattlers are frightfully big.
With a large size comes a ton of venom. These snakes are known to be especially dangerous because of the amount of extremely toxic venom they produce and inject when striking.
The good news is that these snake are relatively docile, and are only really active in the rainy months of Summer. Lastly, their pattern has a unique, green hue to it. The Mexican West Coast Rattlesnake is one of the only of it’s kind that has such a noticeable green color on its scales.
Mojave Sidewinder Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus scutulatus
- Native Location: Mostly the Western United States in Nevada, California, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Western Texas. They can also be found in most parts of Mexico.
- Size: Typically 42 – 60 inches (91-137 cm)
- Diet: Mostly small, desert mammals. Also known to eat birds, lizards, and other snakes.
- Habitat: Dry, desert habitats. Can be found in brush, in cactus scrub, around rocky clusters, etc.
The Mojave Sidewinder is a well known snake, particularly because of the way they move. Rather than slithering forwards, these snakes use their strong bodies to glide sideways over the desert sand.
Why do these snakes move as they do?
Given their native climate, Sidewinders are on some of the hottest earth in the Americas. The sand can reach temperatures that would burn our bare feet in seconds. Thus, they have developed a way to cover a lot of ground by lifting their bodies up and moving smoothly over the scorched earth.
Mojave Sidewinders look intimidating and have unique “horns” on the top of their head. Also, they tend to be aggressive towards humans. If encountered, it’s best to keep a safe distance.
Also, their venom can pack a deadly punch. While not quite as toxic as the Eastern Diamondback, the Mojave Rattlesnake’s venom is a potent neurotoxin. It affects the nervous an respiratory systems. Meaning, while a bite from one of these may not be painful, it will slowly stop your ability to breath.
Arizona Black Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus cerberus
- Native Location: Almost exclusively Arizona, but sometimes in the very western Mountainous parts of New Mexico.
- Size: 30-40 inches (76-100 cm)
- Diet: Many woodland creatures like rodents and rabbits. Also known to eat birds, amphibians, and lizards. From time to time, they are known to eat other animal eggs too.
- Habitat: Rocky, wooded areas in the mountains. These Rattlers prefer natural cover and can often be found in dead logs and rock caverns.
When it comes to color, the Crotalus cerberus is one of the darker species of Rattlesnakes. Additionally, Arizona Black Rattlers can change their color rather quickly like a chameleon. This trait is unique to the Cortalus cerberus, and few other species have the same ability.
Also, juveniles tend to have a much more defined yellowish band pattern. This feature, eventually fades away as the species reach maturity.
Not much is known about the venom of the Arizona Black Rattlesnake. In any case, it’s best to keep a safe distance from this species, as they are hard to spot in the wild.
(Two Headed) Timber Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus horridus
- Native Location: Much of the Eastern United States expanding through mid-Texas.
- Size: 3-5 feet (90-150 cm)
- Diet: Rabbits, voles, mice, rats, squirrels, Garter Snakes, birds, etc.
- Habitat: Wooded, grassy areas.
Have you ever seen the “Don’t Tread on Me”, or Gadsden Flag? If you have, then you’ve seen a Timber Rattlesnake before. Consequently, the species was popularized in the early US days, and represented anger and rebellion, hence the slogan on the flag.
When it comes to Rattlesnakes, this is one of the more infamous species. It’s up there with the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake. Mostly, the popularity of this species is due it it’s wide range of habitation.
Also, this is known to be one of the most deadly snakes in the United States of America. The venom is horridly potent, but luckily treatable with an anti-venom.
While extremely dangerous, this species is usually not quick to strike. Further, they tend to rattle their tails and let any potential predators know not to get near them before striking.
Banded Rock Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus lepidus klauberi
- Native Location: Arizona, Texas, New Mexico in the US; throughout Mexico in Central America
- Size: Typically around 18-20 inches (45-50 cm)
- Diet: Small rodents, lizards, frogs, etc.
- Habitat: Most frequently found in rock crevices and structures
There are 4 subspecies of Rock Rattlesnakes: Banded, Molted, Tamaulipan, and Durango.
While this is a small species, it tends to be highly aggressive toward humans and potential predators. In fact, this is one of the most confident rattlesnakes on the list.
If you happen to encounter one, these little fellas will make sure you know they are present. Banded Rock Rattlesnakes rattle quite assertively.
And, like most Rattlesnakes, they blend in well with their natural habitat. The grey base color and prominent black bands are perfect for blending in to their preferred stony habitat. In contrast to other Rattlesnakes, their venom isn’t as deadly.
That said, it would still be unpleasant to be bitten, and precautions should be taken if encountered in the wild.
Molted Rock Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus lepidus
- Native Location: Texas, New Mexico, Mexico
- Size: Typically between 26-30 inches (71-76 cm)
- Diet: Small mammals, frogs, and lizards
- Habitat: Mostly in rock structures. Sometimes, they can be found in man made road cuts and quarries.
Contrarily, this subspecies of Rock Rattlesnake tends not to be as aggressive as the Banded subspecies. In fact, they are nocturnal, and you’d only notice them if you’re looking for them, or if you step on them.
When it comes to color and pattern, Molted Rock Rattlesnakes tend to have darker colors as pictured above. That said, their colors can also vary depending on their natural habitat.
For instance, if a Molted Rattler primarily lives in an environment with lighter color stone, it will likely be a lighter gray/tan color.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus mitchellii
- Native Location: West coast of Mexico. There’s also a subspecies located only on the island of El Muerto.
- Size: 34-40 inches (86-101 cm)
- Diet: Rodents, small mammals, lizards.
- Habitat: Rocky slopes, dry brush lands, coastal slopes near the pacific.
Speckled Rattlesnakes have two different subspecies: The San Lucan Speckled Rattlesnake, and the El Muerto Island Speckled Rattlesnake. They are both medium-sized Rattlers, and the El Muerto sub species tends to run a little smaller.
As for color and pattern, the look of this species differs greatly depending on their ecosystem. The colors can range from a light, tan-green color, to a dark, brown-gray color. In essence, their look depends mostly on the color of the stones they tend to inhabit.
This is a natural mechanism that allows them to hide from predators and sneak up on prey.
Lastly, behavior of this species varies. They aren’t particularly aggressive or docile. Really, it depends on the snake that has been encountered. Some may be angry, and some may be indifferent.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus pyrrhus
- Native Location: Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona; Also found in the northern-most parts of Mexico.
- Size: Typically between 3-4 feet ( 91-121 cm)
- Diet: Mostly small mammals. Have been known to eat birds and lizards, too.
- Habitat: They enjoy rocks, canyons, and stony hillsides. Additionally, they can be found in abandoned animal burrows.
Hands down, this is one of the most beautiful Rattlesnakes on the planet. The Bleached Rattlesnake gets its name from the mesmerizing, white color it develop. That said, the color does depend on where they call home.
Usually, it can be hard to find the lighter ones as picture above. Consequently, the light colored Bleached Rattlesnakes tend to be in areas where the rocks have a more white, limestone tone.
One of the most standout features of this Rattler is the eyes. They take on a almost creepy white color which is incredibly unique.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus molossus
- Native Location: Western Texas, Arizona, Eastern California; Northern/Central Mexico
- Size: 30-40 inches (70-100 cm)
- Diet: Small mammals, birds, lizards, rodents.
- Habitat: Arid, desert dry lands. Also known to inhabit mountainous areas, and high-altitude grasslands.
The common name for the Crotalus Molossus comes from it’s distinct black tail and rattle. Like many other Rattlesnakes, the color of this species differs depending on it’s surroundings.
As for behavior, the Black-Tailed Rattlesnake is incredibly docile. In fact, they rarely rattle their tail, and tend to slither away quietly when confronted by humans or predators. One of the only cases where these snakes rattle is when they are cornered or do not have a clear escape route.
Due to their docility, bites to humans rarely occur. Additionally, they have less potent venom than the average Rattlesnake. That said, they tend to inject more venom to deliver a fatal blow to prey. If bitten, the venom is not considered fatal to humans, but would still be rather unpleasant.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus oreganus
- Native Location: Most of the Pacific coast in the US. Also, can be found in Southeast Canada and Northwest Mexico.
- Size: 40-60 inches ( 100-152 cm)
- Diet: Small mammals, rodents; birds, bird eggs; also eats lizards and amphibians. Diet varies greatly due to the many different areas this species inhabits.
- Habitat: Grasslands, mountain areas, known to inhabit islands in the Northeast.
The Pacific Rattlesnake is one of 6 subspecies of the Western Rattlesnake. It’s a rather common species, and each subspecies tend to vary in color, but are all relatively the same size.
That said, there are differences between the subspecies.
One of the subspecies, the Midget Faded Rattlensake (Crotalus oreganus concolor) has one of the most potent venoms in the North American Region. If you chance to come across one of them, beware. The bite can be fatal if not treated quickly enough.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus pricei
- Native Location: Almost exclusively found in Central Mexico. There have been some spottings in Southeast Arizona as well.
- Size: around 18-24 inches (45-60 cm)
- Diet: A lot of lizards; some small mammals and desert dwelling rodents
- Habitat: Woodlands
There are two subspecies of the Spotted Rattlesnakes: Western and Eastern.
They are one of the smaller Rattlesnake species, usually measuring in below 2 feet. Plus, Spotted Rattlesnakes are one of the more sparsely distributed species when it comes to where they live.
They are located almost exclusively in Mexico, specifically the foothills of mountainous areas. If you’re looking to find one, good luck. The areas they inhabit are relatively desolate, and challenging to navigate.
Their venom is known to be highly potent, but not that dangerous because they typically don’t inject much when striking. The name, comes from the two aligned spots that align on their back from their head down toward their tail.
Red Diamond Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus ruber
- Native Location: Almost entirely located in the Baja California Peninsula; Sometimes found in the very Southern most region of California.
- Size: 40-60 inches (100-150 cm)
- Diet: Rodents, ground squirrels, rabbits, lizards, and occasionally other snakes.
- Habitat: They prefer dense wooded areas or areas with heavy cactus brush. Also, this species likes boulders, and any rocky structures that provide ample coverage.
The Red Diamond has two stand-out features. First, the distinct, desert-red color it inherits due to its desert-like surroundings. Secondly, the Red Diamond Rattlesnake has a unique, black and white “zebra” tail/rattler.
While it may look intimidating, this species is generally less harmful than others. Reason being is because it has one of the least potent venoms of any Rattlesnake. Nevertheless, a bite would still be painful. Though it is unlikely a bite would be fatal, it should still be treated immediately.
When it comes to habitat, this Rattlesnake is a bit hardy. It will live in an area at sea level, all the way up to 2000 feet above sea level. Also, it can be commonly found in the sames area as different Pacific Rattlesnakes subspecies.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus tigris
- Native Location: Central Arizona, Northwestern Mexico
- Size: Typically between 24-30 inches (60-75 cm)
- Diet: Mostly rodents and small lizards
- Habitat: Rocky desert areas, foothills, thorn brushes, grasslands.
The Tiger Rattlesnake has two key stand out features. For starters, it has a tiny, spade-shaped head. In fact, it has the smallest head of any Rattlesnake species.
Additionally, it has tiger-like stripes down the length of its body. Hence the common name “Tiger”.
Just because it has a small head does not mean the Tiger Rattlesnake is any less dangerous. It has an incredibly potent venom for such a small snake.
While mostly ground dwelling, this species has been spotted swimming quite aptly. For the most part, it is a terrestrial snake.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus willardi
- Native Location: High elevation areas of North-Central Mexican Mountainous areas
- Size: 12-24 inches ( 30-60 cm)
- Diet: Small rodents, birds, large insects, specifically centipedes
- Habitat: Wooded mountain ranges
Ridge-nosed Rattlesnakes are small and particular. They prefer high elevations, and rarely, if ever venture out of the mountain ranges of Mexico. Along with their high-altitude preferences, they are one of the smallest Rattlesnake species.
It’s unlikely you will come across one of these fellas unless you’re hiking the mountains of Central Mexico.
When it comes to looks, this snake earned its name because of the unique shape of its face. The nose on this species has a ridged angle, giving the nose an almost shelf-like look.
Their venom is somewhat harmless and in most cases non-fatal. While it’s still important to treat any snake bite immediately, a bite from one of these would be of little concern compared to others.
- Scientific Name: Crotalus viridis
- Native Location: Can be found over much of the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain foothills
- Size: 3-5 feet (90-150 cm)
- Diet: Ranges greatly due to fast areas inhabited. Rodents, small mammals, ground squirrels, etc.
- Habitat: Grasslands, mountain-areas, rocky structures, etc.
The Prarie Rattlesnake is one of the most common species of Rattlesnakes found in North America. They grow rather large, and can vary greatly in color.
Like others, color variety depends mostly on the areas in which they inhabit. Their color tends to mirror their environment.
Aruba Island Rattlesnake
- Scientific Name: Crotalus unicolor
- Native Location: Exclusively found on the island of Aruba
- Size: 2.5-3 feet (60-90 cm)
- Diet: Birds, lizards, small mammals like rodents
- Habitat: Desert like areas off the coast of Venezuela
This species is consdiered critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. This means there are less than 250 adults in the wild. Because of their critical endangerment, not much is known about this species, as they are so difficult to locate.
It’s easily the most sparsely distributed species of Rattlesnake, as it inhabits just a small portion of the Island of Aruba.
While almost extinct, they are a beautiful looking snake. They look almost albino, and have a light, pink/red tone to their scales.